Cyndi Lauper Just Wants You To Volunteer!
Cyndi Lauper made her commitment to AIDS awareness and prevention known back in February, when she joined with Lady Gaga as MAC Cosmetics’ latest Viva Glam spokesperson. But her allegiance to the MAC AIDS Fund didn’t end at shilling lipstick—a vocation she’s quite good at, turns out. “We’ve sold 32 million,” MAC AIDS Fund executive director Nancy Mahon said of the total signed tubes of lipstick and gloss the makeup giant has parted ways with since Lauper and Gaga came on board. “People listen to Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga more than the surgeon general,” Mahon joked, pointing out that it’s the organization’s ability to combine the “viva”—the actual charitable work—and the “glam”—the Cyndi and the Gaga, if you will—that keeps the program so successful.
Earlier this week, Lauper embodied the dichotomy. Donning a hair net, she showed up at God’s Love We Deliver, a charitable organization devoted to preparing nutritious and delicious meals for people suffering from AIDS, to get people pumped about volunteering for World AIDS Day on December 1. “When you do something good for someone else, you’re doing something good for yourself,” Lauper told us. “Cyndi’s my favorite face to work with because she gets into it—and she’s a great makeup artist herself,” face painter James Kaliardos said of Lauper as he applied a fresh layer of her Cyndi Viva Glam gloss, a pretty shade of coral. “Well, I’ve been doing it since I was 13,” Lauper quipped back. “You should’ve seen the makeup I used to do when I was thirteen!” Here, Lauper talks makeup essentials, doing her part for the cause, and a forthcoming autobiography that, rest assured, we will be first in line to purchase.
So first things first. How did you get involved with Gods Love We Deliver?
I’ve given to these people. This is the first time I’ve been inside, though. They deliver to friends of mine. I can’t tell you how much it means to people. Sometimes the sick are forgotten. December 1, babe. We’re making great strides. These lipsticks—this was the biggest campaign [for MAC] ever.
Why do you think it’s so important, even in these days of AZT, for people to continue to volunteer and generate awareness?
Because it’s is still here and the numbers are rising again. And you have to be aware. AIDS is 100 percent preventable but 0 percent curable. And I’m telling you, life with AIDS sucks. If the disease don’t get you, the medicine will. And to stand by and not do anything and not say anything, uh uh. The whole thing is, happy people don’t self-destruct. And you gotta respect yourself and take care of yourself, and if you’re sad and lonely, find a place to volunteer.
Or sell a really gorgeous lipstick, 100 percent of the proceeds of which will be donated to AIDS awareness. Aside from your Cyndi lipstick, what are your other makeup essentials?
I love MAC and I love makeup and I love lipstick. I’m just sorry that I only have one face and one mouth to put it on. I love my coral Cyndi, because I’m able to mix it. I never wear just one lipstick. You gotta paint! And now that there’s the gloss, I like it even better because it pops—it deepens the color. And if you put this color on top of [MAC Lipstick in] Cyber, it has a different effect—it’s almost iridescent. I like that. It also looks great over [MAC Lipstick in] Russian Red. Lady Gaga’s color looks good over [MAC Lipstick in] Amped, depending on what kind of eye I’m going for and what my hair is like.
Speaking of your hair, you’re sporting a very flaxen blond these days, but of course you’ve dabbled in the yellows, the ambers, the reds, the whites, the rainbow streaks…
…The mint, the blue…
Do you have a favorite from your vast array of coiffing colors?
Well, I like the yellow from ’94. I thought that was really awesome. But I’ve been kind of afraid to do that. Because as a blonde, you can walk around and nobody recognizes you. You’re just another blonde on the subway! I loved the yellow. It was Manic Panic, Canary Yellow. I still use their stuff. I was doing the red from them for a while and mixing the Flame with the Electric Yellow.
And what about skincare? Your complexion is amazing!
Tracey Martyn. Come on! Everyone uses her. You don’t have to use a lot; just a little works because it heals your skin. I go see her too, as much as I can. Her cleanser and the activator are good. Also, I went vegan for a little. And raw.
I was going to say, your body looks incredible. Are you still raw?
Hell no! I’m already thinking about Thanksgiving. But I’m on a diet. I went to Europe and gained so much weight, because the bread there is so good.
I hear that. Speaking of the holidays, do you have any good gifting ideas?
This lipstick. It’s only $14.50, but it’s the thought behind it, that you really love someone and you want to protect someone. When you see my signature, hear my voice: You’re worth protecting. Safe sex, darling, safe sex.
And what are you hoping to get?
Family time. I’ve always wanted to take my mother to Italy, back to see the family. They used to tell me in the eighties, “Ceeendi, why don’t you drop everything and come to Italy.” And I’d say, “I can’t, I gotta be on TV.”
What’s next for you—aside from a trip to the old country?
I’m going to Memphis, and I’m doing a live CD/DVD; it’s an extension of Memphis blues. I’m going to do a collection with [New York jewelry designer] Michael Spirito, too. And I’m doing an autobiography.
Please, go on.
It’s going to be an as-told-to. I’m trying to find all of the pictures. But I’ve moved so much.
What’s the book going to be called?
Maybe, How to Say the Wrong Things to the Right People.
Photo: Taylor Hill / FilmMagic